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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

'I've not had a drink since' says Bellamy after caution for failed breath test

Flying the flag: Tom Bellamy salutes the crowd as Splash Of Ginge enters the winner's enclosure
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Tom Bellamy on Monday insisted he had learned from his mistake after being given a caution by the BHA for failing a breath test at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

The rider, who said he had two or three drinks on an empty stomach and was in bed by midnight on New Year's Eve, returned a reading in excess of the 17 micrograms per 100 millilitres threshold – which is 48 per cent of the drink-drive limit of 35 micrograms.

The 23-year-old, who won the BetVictor Gold Cup on Splash Of Ginge for Nigel Twiston-Davies at the same track in November, said on Monday that he had not had a drink since the episode got his new year off to such a poor start.

"I'm glad it's over, to be honest. It's something I regret, I just want to move on from it now," said Bellamy, who lost his rides on the day. "I spoke to the Professional Jockeys Association and studied the penalties myself and it is what I was hoping for, but you always worry the worst will happen.

"I was never looking for sympathy. The reality is I've learned from my mistake. I shouldn't have had a drink at all, and it won't be happening again. I hope it doesn't affect my career in the future. I haven't had a drink since and won't be any time soon."

Bellamy, who rode five winners from 50 rides across November and December, is winless from eight rides since and added: "It's been a fairly quiet season in general and I'd say that is the case for probably 70 per cent of the lads. I had my biggest winner – and don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely chuffed about that and still think about it every day – but in terms of rides and winners I'm down on last year."

Last season was the best of Bellamy's career with 25 winners from 212 rides – he has nine from 87 this campaign – but that big win on Splash Of Ginge means this season has already produced his second highest prize-money total of his career with three very valuable months remaining.

"The quality's better, I'm freelance and I get to ride for Nigel Twiston-Davies, Kim Bailey and Alan King and that's great – I just need to get the quantity going as well," said Bellamy. "I'd love to find a yard where I could ride their horses as I'd love to do a bit more on the numbers front."

As part of the BHA's fast-tracking of cases Fergus Sweeney and David Allan also received cautions for their positive breath tests supplied on October 2 at Bath and October 22 at Southwell respectively.

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I was never looking for sympathy. The reality is I've learned from my mistake
E.W. Terms
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